Junior Colleges

Coast football star had a long wait for his 1st D1 offer, but his patience was rewarded

Terrion Avery’s patience has finally paid off.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College running back wrapped up a solid junior college career in October, but he headed into 2019 without an offer to play football on the game’s highest level.

That all changed on Thursday when Avery was told by South Alabama tight ends coach Chad Huff, a former MGCCC head coach, that he had a spot waiting for him on the team.

The former Stone High star admits that he wasn’t expecting it when Huff delivered the news during a phone call.

“It was a long wait,” Avery said. “I’ve been sitting and thinking about it. It just hit me out blue so I was kind of surprised.”

He turned to tell his mom about the offer once he got off the phone.

“She was happy,” he said. “She always knew it would happen. She just said, ‘I told you. I told you.’”

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound running back didn’t have to wait long to make his decision. He announced on Friday that he was verbally committing to South Alabama.

Avery rushed 147 times for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns during his sophomore season at MGCCC. He also caught 13 passes for 108 yards. As a freshman, he had 826 yards and six touchdowns on 139 carries.

As a senior at Stone High, he ran 290 times for 2,271 yards and 26 touchdowns to earn a Sun Herald All-South Mississippi selection.

It will be a quick turnaround for Avery, who plans to enroll for the spring semester and go through spring practice with the team. Classes begin on Monday.

Avery visited the South Alabama campus in September and was on hand to watch the Jaguars beat Texas State 41-31 on Sept. 15, but he wasn’t sure where he stood with the USA staff after failing to receive an offer prior to the early signing period on Dec. 19.

“It’s been crazy,” Avery said. “At times, I thought it wasn’t going to happen.”

With two strong years under his belt at MGCCC, Avery hopes to make an immediate impact at USA.

“I just want to go in, learn the plays and hit the ground running,” he said. “I want to be ready for Week 1 against Nebraska.”

Avery’s verbal pledge is another example of South Alabama head coach Steve Campbell relying on South Mississippi talent to fill out his roster.

Avery will join another Coast product in the South Alabama backfield in former East Central standout running back Tony Brown.

Former Gulfport standout defensive lineman Gi’Narious Johnson, who spent last year at Pearl River Community College, and MGCCC offensive lineman Conner Estes, another Hurley native, signed with the Jaguars in December. Another MGCCC offensive lineman, Harrison Central offensive lineman Jacob Shoemaker, also signed with USA.

Patrick Magee is a sports writer who has covered South Mississippi for much of the last two decades. From Southern Miss to high schools, he stays on top of it all.